Consumer-safe and thermally-stable bioplastic formulation with controlled biodegradation properties for agricultural and horticultural accessories

Agriculture and Horticulture sector generates about 1.2 Mt of plastic waste per year in the Europe, where almost 30% (336 Kt) are coming from accessories such as nets and clips for plant support and plastics pots and trays for greenhouses and bed-seeds. The recycling of these products is very expensive and time-consuming due to the high labour cost for the collection and the impossibility to be automatized.

The DEGRICOL project will develop cost-competitive, 100% natural-based bioplastic formulation based on a thermally stable and crystalline PLA matrix for the manufacturing of Agriculture and Horticulture accessories. Such formulation will contain natural fillers isolated from animal- and agro-residues to further reduce costs and, and bio-surfactants isolated from compost of urban food or agro-residues to improve and control the biodegradation process according to their use. In addition, these accessories, pots and clips, tutors and nets will have the requirements necessary to fulfill the normative EN13432 regarding biodegradation and compostability, and Directive 2007/19/CE regarding total Migration Limit of plastics in contact with food-products.

9 European partners have collaborated in the project: 3 research laboratories (DLO, from Netherlands, CETEC and INSPIRALIA, from Spain), 3 national associations (Plastipolis, in France; TZOB, in Turkey and MGH, in Germany) from Bioplastic, Agricultural, and Food Quality sectors and 3 companies (Biopac, developer of biodegradable and compostable materials and products for consumer, retail and industrial markets, in United Kingdom; Mecafonction, eco-designer and manufacturer of tools for thermoplastic and thermoset industries, in France and Rodenas y Rivera, company from wrapping and packaging sector, in Spain).

Inspiralia will develop the bio-plastic formulation using natural polymers and additives and also undertake extensive studies of the structural changes and biodegradation control.

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